Music: a tool to build community

By Lindajoy Fenley

“The power of music,” said Choral Director Joel Everist. “Its job is first and foremost to build community.”


Waldorf University Choir performs “Bandini” at reception Sunday night

During a reception launching Lorraine Klaasen’s Arts Midwest World Fest tour, Everist’s Waldorf Choir, the second oldest collegiate a cappella choir in the United States, performed a song that emphasized that community message. Students sang “Freedom Come,” the fifth movement of Bandari: Inside These Walls, a work written by a previous choir director when he lived in Kenya. “It exemplifies the power of music and song to share pain, burdens, joys, and sorrows,” Everist told several dozen people gathered to welcome the Arts Midwest World Fest visitors on Sunday, Oct. 16.


Musicians Mongezi Ntaka, Andre Whiteman, and Noel Mpiaza who are touring with Lorraine Klaasen

Lorraine Klaasen, who also shared a song at the reception, agreed the event had a warm community feel. Other musical highlights of the event held in the large round room at Majopa, a community facility that once was a private home, were a high school flautist and a singer, both backed up by local pianists.


Workshops in Forest City and Buffalo Center, Iowa

Following Monday’s workshops in both Forest City and Buffalo Center, Iowa, Klaasen and her accompanists went to the Buffalo Center Middle School band room to hear students play an American pop song, “Barbara Ann.” The students, who had attended a previous World Fest presentation, had a chance to ask more questions.

At each of the workshops, Klaasen encouraged students to follow their dreams and passions.

On Tuesday, back in Forest City, she also gave a short course in South African history, mentioning that young people played key roles in ending apartheid in her country. She anticipates the conversation will go deeper when the South African musicians, who are featuring Township music on this five-week tour, spend the day at Waldorf University.

The Forest City public concert is set for Thursday at the Immanuel Lutheran Church. Scheduled activities end on Friday with presentations for two senior citizens groups.

Local host Audrey Olmstead made sure local media got to interview Lorraine Klaasen before the concert. On Monday, Mark Skaar interviewed her for the local radio station.


Lorraine visits with local radio host Mark Skaar

On Tuesday, Allison Ullmann of the Forest City Summit interviewed students as well as the artist.


Reporter Allison Ullmann interviews Forest City students

Olmstead also showed off Forest City’s most famous product, the Winnebago motorhome, by taking the South African visitors to a dealership as well as to the local production facility.

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